The Best Panettone Recipe

This Panettone recipe is for a brioche-like dough called Panettone, and it’s filled with rum-soaked raisins, citrus zest, and almonds. This traditional Italian Christmas bread is the ideal holiday baking project for a weekend.

Milan is the birthplace of the sweet Italian bread known as panettone. The use of yeast, which was rare and expensive prior to the 15th century, makes this a seasonal “luxury cake” typically baked for Christmas and New Year’s. There is now commercially produced panettone available for the holiday season.

Materials Required for This Recipe

  • Traditional fillings for panettone include candied oranges, raisins, and orange zest.
  • Rum: soaking the fillings in rum keeps the bread from drying out, and it also helps plump the raisins. If you forget to rehydrate the fruit, it will absorb moisture from the dough and make the whole thing dry out.
  • When using active dry yeast, check the expiration date to make sure it is still valid. If you want your panettone to turn out light and airy, you should always use a brand-new packet.
  • The flour I suggest using King Arthur flour or another high-quality brand for this panettone recipe. The bread is able to support the soaked fruit because of the strong, gluten-rich flour.


For the Soaked Fruit:

  • ▢1¼ cup raisins
  • ▢¾ cup chopped candied orange or lemon peel
  • ▢¼ cup rum
  • ▢¼ cup hot water

For the Starter:

  • ▢½ cup warm water
  • ▢¼ teaspoon active dry yeast part of a .25-ounce packet
  • ▢1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (135g)

For the Dough:

  • ▢⅓ cup warm water
  • ▢2 teaspoons active dry yeast remaining part of a .25-ounce packet
  • ▢4 cups all-purpose flour (480g)
  • ▢¾ cup granulated sugar (150g)
  • ▢½ cup unsalted butter melted (113g)
  • ▢4 large eggs at room temperature and divided
  • ▢1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ▢1¼ teaspoon salt
  • ▢Zest of 1 orange
  • ▢½ cup slivered almonds


  • Warm water and yeast should be mixed in a bowl. Soak up the yeast for a while. Mix in the flour until it is evenly distributed. Make the starter and then cover and let it rise for 8-12 hours.
  • Combine the rum, hot water, and candied orange peel with the raisins in a small bowl. Soak, covered, for at least 8 hours and up to 2 days.
  • Once the starter is very active, mix the remaining yeast into the warm water and set aside for about 5 minutes, or until foamy.
  • Whisk together the starter with the flour, sugar, butter, 3 eggs, vanilla extract, and salt. To combine ingredients, use the dough hook attachment and a stand mixer on low speed. Mix in the orange zest and keep going until you have a nice, smooth dough. Leave the covered mixing bowl in a warm place for about 2 to 3 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  • When the dough has risen, mix in the slivered almonds and the drained fruit. Slowly incorporate the fruit and nuts into the dough.
  • To form a ball, place the dough on a floured surface and knead it a few times. Divide the dough in half and shape each piece into a ball, dusting the work surface and your hands with flour as necessary.
  • Put one ball of dough into each panettone mold. Allow rising until the dough is just above the rim of the mold, about 3 hours. Cover loosely with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap.
  • Brush the dough that has risen with the remaining beaten egg. Put the cookie sheet into the oven. Cover loosely with foil if the top is getting dark brown quickly and bake for 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place your panettone on a wire rack to cool completely.


  • To make panettone, you can use any dried or candied fruits you like instead of the traditional candied citrus and raisins.
  • Typically, panettone is a long-ferment or sourdough bread. For convenience in the kitchen, I substitute instant yeast for the active dry yeast in my panettone bread recipe. While some preparation may be required, your persistence will be rewarded. Bread made with an overnight sponge and multiple rises develops a richer, more nuanced flavor.
  • If you measure your flour accurately, you won’t have to worry about adding too much. The most common error is using too much flour, which will result in a dense loaf of bread. A kitchen scale is ideal for accurately measuring flour.
  • The yeast is stimulated by warm water and sugar. The yeast can be killed by too hot water, and it won’t activate if it’s not warm enough. For optimal results, maintain a water temperature of 112°F to 125°F.
  • Eggs that are at room temperature can be more easily and quickly worked into the dough. In this way, the dough won’t get overworked. In the event that you forgot to leave your eggs at room temperature, you can quickly bring them to temperature by covering them with warm tap water and setting them out in a large bowl for 5 minutes.
  • Rising time is crucial for flavor and gluten development, so don’t skip it. The dough should be kept between 75 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the panettone molds full of dough in a cold oven with the oven light on if you have a cold kitchen.



As a sweet yeast dough, panettone is technically bread. However, the crumb has a buttery, cake-like texture. It’s not entirely clear what this sweet is supposed to be, but it’s often referred to as “panettone cake” because of its dessert-like purpose.


Panettone can be stored in paper molds for up to 2 weeks as long as it is tightly wrapped in plastic. It can be served cold, warmed, or at room temperature.

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